"What happened to Fill Light and Recovery?"

The Lightroom team has evolved the editing control set in the just-released LR4, replacing a couple of popular but sometimes problematic controls:

Recovery can result in muddy highlights, and Fill Light can lead to visible halos at high-contrast boundaries. Furthermore, it is difficult to transfer the technology behind these controls to local adjustments.

With Process Version 2012 in Lightroom 4, we have introduced a new set of Basic tone controls that overcomes these limitations and results in much higher image quality. For example, the Highlights and Shadows tools are optimized for very high contrast images, produce much smoother highlight and shadow gradations, are available as local adjustments, and minimize halo artifacts.

Check out the Lightroom Journal for more details. [Via Jan Kabili]

8 thoughts on “"What happened to Fill Light and Recovery?"

    1. “Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining.” ― Jef Raskin
      [Yeah, and imagine if computer technology advanced as rapidly as shoe technology. *That* would be a source of complaint. –J.]

      1. Oh, J, you’re just dreaming of the day when technology “evolves” (more fully) into boutique consumer fashion stuff like running shoes, so women and kids will get in fist fights over the stuff in stores and everyone in the business will make as much money as the funky-dressed men and women in the high fashion industry make and you can have so many Hasselblads that you just toss one into the back seat of your weekend BMW to grab some snapshots on the way to the spaceport.
        But, then, I guess, that’s not really a bad future. Think it’s going to happen?

  1. I loved and hated recovery and fill light. They were both brilliant and maddening depending on the image and what you wanted to do…
    The new process is hands down the best Lightroom has ever been in attaining the look I have for my images that I have in my head. Something that happened 45% of the time in Lightroom 3. (and I loved LR3)
    The thing that drives me crazy is that Adobe did not take away recovery and highlight! I hear people whining all over the place about it. Don’t convert that image to process version 2012! That’s it and you have LR4 with the old controls. Enjoy both worlds and quite whining!

  2. You can even revert it back on an image-by-image basis. Develop > Camera Calibration > Process = 2010.
    The only thing I find annoying is the order of the new controls. Who thought it a good idea to put them in that order?
    OK; fair enough – Exposure goes first even though it controls the middle of the histogram. But how about lightest to darkest after that?
    Whites / Highlights / Shadows / Blacks would make much more intuitive sense to me than moving from inside to outside and bouncing back and forth from upper section of the histogram to lower section.

  3. Giles: I understand your reasoning, but the reasoning behind the current order is that if you look at histogram areas controlled by each slider, Exposure controls the largest at the middle, followed by Shadows and Highlights -in equal widths-, and the smallest are the two Whites & Blacks -also in equal widths-. Therefore, the idea is that you tweak the biggest “chunk” of histogram first, then the two smaller “chunks”, and you end with the two smallest. It makes sense to me.

  4. Speaking as a fire photographer, I’m really stoked to get my hands on LR4. Halos are easily the biggest problem I run into when editing fire shots, so to hear that issue has been addressed is exciting! That, and being able to use these as local adjustments… yeah wow.

  5. Great info thanks! I won’t need to do it all the time but it’s nice to know I can still invoke the Fill Light and Recovery controls if needed. I guess I’m just not up to speed on LR4 yet as it still takes me 20 clicks to accomplish what I was able to do with the Fill Light slider in a few seconds 🙁

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